The ultimate introduction to mobile food photography

In the face of food, everyone has developed the habit of “eating first with cameras”, and even “forgetting to take pictures is not worth eating”. Many people may think that professional SLR cameras are necessary to take stunning photos. In fact, we can take super beautiful photos with everyone’s mobile phone.

However, it is clear that mobile phones are used. Why are the finished products so different? Some people take dim and disorderly pictures of food to arouse their appetite, while others can take the enviable “Food Porn” (the most popular adjective for food photos, which means that covetous food photos seem to seduce you).

In fact, it is not difficult to take enviable photos. As long as you master the following steps, you can also take beautiful photos!

1、 Natural light is king! Flash OUT!

Sufficient natural light can make the photos look bright, natural and warm, and can show the most original color of food. It is the best weapon to take good photos. If you can move your food position, for example, if you want to record the dessert made by your own hands, never shine in the kitchen with dim light. Try to move to the window with bright light, even outdoors. If there is a yellow light at home, it is also recommended to turn it off when shooting, and try to focus on white light and natural light.

If you go to a restaurant during the day, many professional gourmet bloggers will also specially designate the position beside the window to take good photos with natural lighting. Flash light or any artificial light source can easily create unnecessary shadows. As long as there is enough natural light, no professional camera is needed at all. Mobile phones can also take full and clear pictures.

Although natural light is one of the keys to taking good photos, it is not omnipotent. We still have to pay attention to the direction of the light. If the light is directly directed at the food, the picture will be too bright, while the side may be too dark, and the sense of hierarchy will be weakened. Therefore, it is advisable to move the food to try the effect of other light directions, such as backlight or side light, which can also create different effects. The above photo is to use the reflection of the water cup in the side light to interlace with the food on the table, making the home-made food more interesting under the background of light and shadow!

If the indoor light is not enough, you can increase the aperture of your mobile phone (the operation mode is shown in the following key points) or use the free map repair software later, but don’t use flash, don’t use flash, don’t use flash! (It’s important to say three times!) Unless you like the pale effect Even if there is not enough light in the room, the photos can have bright and natural effects as long as the brightness is increased without flash. Finally, if the yellow light is used at home, it is recommended to turn off the light when taking pictures, so that the white balance will be closer to the primary color.

2、 Food is the main character of the picture

Focus on the main character. If your main character is bread, make sure that the focus is on the bread, so that the picture will be clear. If the light is uneven or insufficient, the staple food can also be placed at a place with sufficient light, because our eyes will be the first to notice the bright part of the whole picture, which can also increase the stereoscopic feeling and level. Or we can put the main character at the bright place in front. When the focus is on the front, other backgrounds and props at the back will appear a little fuzzy, which will make the picture more stereoscopic.

How do I know if the main character is in focus? Take the iPhone for example. In the camera mode, a small frame will appear when you touch the screen with your finger. The position where the frame is located is where the focus is, so just click where you want to focus. If you want to adjust the brightness at the focus, you can press and hold the sun pattern in the picture to move up and down to adjust the brightness within the focus range, such as the frame on the noodles in the right picture.

3、 Food utensils, dishes and props are also important

The textured food utensils will increase people’s appetite, as well as in the photos. Although food utensils are supporting role, the protagonist should also have good green leaves to set off its beauty, right?

As food is the main character, the simpler the tableware, the better (colorful dishes are cute, but they will steal the spotlight from the main character, food, etc.). At the beginning, the basic plate of all white or all black is the safest choice. In addition, any props such as sauces, tableware, books, cups, or people can help set off the overall different artistic conception on the table.

Like breakfast food, I often use computers and coffee cups as part of the props to link with everyone’s habits of eating breakfast while watching the Internet news. When taking pictures in the restaurant, the vase, MENU, knife and fork, and even my friends who dine with me may all become accessories of food, and use different elements to stack the overall situation. Props can also help to present the “layers” mentioned in the second point. For example, the staple food can be placed a little in the front, while cups, tableware or books can be placed a little behind the staple food, creating at least two layers.

4、 Find the most “right” angle

Food can’t be perfect 360 degrees, so it’s important to find the right angle! Before taking a picture, you can observe the food in the plate (bowl) from all aspects and find out the key points that you think can best present the dish. Generally speaking, you can automatically make your food more delicious by choosing the most colorful and layered side of the food. You can turn the side with the richest or most distinctive fillings to the camera, or you can consider the interspersed colors when setting the plate. For example, place the bean sprouts between the shrimp and the bean skin, otherwise the shrimp and the bean skin are covered with curry sauce and are all brown, which can make each ingredient more distinctive.

It’s easy to press the shutter, but there are many small details to pay attention to when taking a pleasing picture. If you can master the above elements, master the light well, and make the picture clean (less is more, right?), the picture will be very textured.

The four basic elements of food photography with mobile phones are natural light, protagonists, food utensils and the angle of plate setting. The most important protagonist: The food is well controlled, but there should also be competent green leaves to set off the beauty of the protagonist. Although they are supporting role, they occupy the largest area in the overall picture: background and angle.


Most people take pictures directly when they pick up the camera, without worrying about whether the table is messy or the color is very mixed. In fact, at the beginning, the simpler the background, the better, such as white and black. This is the same as the dish mentioned last time. The simpler and cleaner it is, the more it can show the color of the food itself. The simple dichotomy of background is light color and dark color. How to choose white or black?

White background/light background

White can give people a bright, fresh and energetic message, while black can be more personalized, but you may have to pay attention to the choice of food. White is a versatile color. Basically, as long as the whole food itself is not white (or nearly white), you can use white as the background. It is easy to have a strong contrast with the color of the food, but if it is just a bowl of white rice, it is easy to integrate with the background.

If white is versatile, when can I use black?

Black background/dark background

The black background will give people a feeling of moody. But sometimes it can form a stronger contrast with the color of food, such as light green vegetables (e.g. Romei lettuce, cucumber), red fruits and vegetables (e.g. radish, pomegranate, tomato) or yellow fruits and vegetables (e.g. mango, yellow pepper). However, foods that are easy to blacken, such as eggplant, dried meat, chocolate, etc., should be used carefully because they are easy to paste together. There may be more restrictions on the choice of eating utensils.

As shown in the picture above, although Brownie is a dark food, it can be brighter and fuller with a black background on the marble table. On the contrary, it was originally thought that white could have a strong contrast, but the color did not look so sharp.

A clean desk is the same rule

It is good to use white or black, but it is very important that the desktop must not be messy or stained! Leave only articles that are helpful to the composition, such as tableware, vases, books, etc., rather than rolled toilet paper or water stains left on the table. Before shooting, you can experiment with different backgrounds (e.g. marble, wood) to see which colors and textures are most suitable for showing your cuisine.

The trendsetters shoot like this — with food in hand. The last way is the most suitable for traveling, and it is also a popular way of photography in recent two years. That is to find a suitable background, hold the food for shooting (under the premise of easy handling), and hold the food towards the sky. Different backgrounds can create different atmosphere. It is very suitable for shooting street snacks or the recently popular bright wall can be used as a background for photography.


Each kind of food has different shapes, including long and short, high and low levels. So instead of walking around the world from the same angle, we want to shoot food photos that make people feel very excited. The shooting angle mostly depends on the way the food is placed. The following are the basic commonly used angles: bird’s eye view, horizontal view and side view. You can refer to them

A. Aerial view angle

The aerial view angle is the way we often see shooting from top to bottom in recent years. This method of photography is often used to take pictures of the entire table, not only the food itself, but also the surrounding layout. The full table of delicious food, together with the stone tools, furnishings on the table, and even the hands of diners can add points to the picture and make it more artistic.

If it is a single dish, the bird’s eye view angle is suitable for the flat dish placement, which means that the dish itself has no height, just like the above figure. The two photos are the same dish, but because the chef’s way of setting the dish is flat, it will be messy if you take the photo from the side, and you can’t see the focus of this dish.

B. Horizontal angle

The horizontal angle is very suitable for shooting multi-level or high food, such as layered cake or sandwich food. If this kind of food with high level/hierarchy is shot from an aerial perspective, most of it will be peaceful and can not show the delicious stuffing.

Just like the picture above, if you take a bird’s-eye view only, you can only take a picture of the sun’s eggs and exposed a little bone. However, from a horizontal perspective, there are so many levels! It shows the characteristics and attractiveness of this dish.

C. Side angle

The side angle is commonly known as the 45 degree angle, which is just the angle at which we sit at the table and look at the food. Therefore, it is easy to feel a great increase in appetite when shooting from this angle. This angle can also make the food look three-dimensional, because the top and side of the food can be displayed, which is the safest photography angle for beginners.

Through practice and experience accumulation, decide what kind of background and angle to photograph. The background can be matched through trial and error to find the appropriate style and application method, and the angle selection is through constant practice and experience accumulation, so that you can decisively choose what angle to shoot when you see the food.

Composition&increase storytelling

In colloquial terms, composition refers to the placement of food, including proportion, closeness and cutting.

a. Scale/picture balance

There is an inseparable relationship between proportion and balance. Because the proportion is correct and the picture is balanced, the overall feeling will be very comfortable. The proportion of the picture does not only refer to the decoration or position, but also the proportion of the picture decoration (food utensils, backgrounds, props, etc.) to the food. You don’t want the supporting role to be more attractive than the main character. At the beginning, you can start from the completely clean background mentioned last time (as shown in the figure).

Then advance to the decoration of enriching the background. If you don’t know where to start, you can place the main character to be shot in the center of the picture, and then slowly add the props to be arranged around the picture with it as the center.

In addition to the balance between the protagonist and the props, the color matching between the ingredients is also good. Imagine the concept of clothes, but the color matching of food can be a little bit more colorful than clothes!

In addition to Christmas clothes can accept red with green, but when applied to food, it is very eye-catching. For example, salad dishes must be colorful. Only green lettuce with red tomatoes, yellow corn, purple cabbage and white protein (eg, chicken, eggs) can make people have an appetite (clothes must not be worn like this….). If you like to wear the earth color, you must stop at clothes. You can be bold in the color matching of food materials.

b. Close up: Single food gives a sense of momentum and is also suitable for the process of cooking

stayFood Photography

There is a joke in the world that if you feel that the photos are not beautiful enough, it means you are not close enough!

I talked about the whole table or the whole shooting before, but sometimes it’s tempting to shoot the details or local close-up of food at close range. Especially when shooting a single food material, or with simple food, such a shooting theme can fill the screen with food, making the audience think of the memories of holding food materials in their hands. For example, the spaghetti in the picture.

There is another advantage to taking pictures of local food, because only part of the pictures can be seen, and there is basically no consideration of setting the table. It is suitable for the work in progress, and the food can not be set up, or the table is too messy to fit into the camera.

C. Cutting: Remove the turnip and save the turnip! Make the theme more prominent

At the beginning, I thought, if the composition is finished at one time, why should I cut it? In fact, sometimes removing some background or extra space can make the whole picture look more harmonious. Cutting can be a help for composition. Sometimes the composition itself is not bad, but removing the redundant parts can make the theme more prominent and the photos more perfect.

Pay attention to the cutting point when cutting. Don’t focus too much on the center point and neglect the surroundings. For example, the cut plate is at the center point, but the hand is cut off in half, which makes the whole picture a bit wrong, or the hand holding the fork is cut off, like the fork floating in the air.


If you feel that simply taking pictures of food is too boring or the whole picture has no vitality, and you want to live in a natural environment, the simplest way is to use completely free props — hands. Of course, the hand in the picture is still a supporting role. It should be meaningful in the picture (holding sandwiches, knives and forks, wine glasses, MENU, etc.), rather than just joining in to make trouble.

The seats placed by hands should also be noted, for example, they should not account for too much of the whole picture. If the hand accounts for half of the whole picture, who is the leading role? Don’t let your hands steal the limelight of food, and the proportion of your hands is too large to be distracted. Just like in the figure, if the hand does not appear, as just mentioned in the cutting, the spoon on the hand will become a floating object floating in mid air (in the red box).

If the subject is relatively single or small (such as fruit, dried fruit, nuts), you can hold it with both hands or focus on the bowl for shooting. This can not only help the viewer focus, but also show the actual proportion of food. In addition, there is also the atmosphere that people bring food to you and invite you to try it.

However, not every time you shoot, the dish or food itself is in the best state. The last way (which I like to take pictures recently) is to create a feeling of “eating” or “about to start”, so that people looking at photos can have an atmosphere of expectation. For example, a spoon has been dug or a knife and fork are cutting. (For example, the hand in the picture is about to wrap the food to create a real-time sense of “coming soon”)

It is important to pay attention to the section of the food that has been eaten. Most of the situations are acceptable, except for ugly tooth marks or completely destroying the integrity of the food. Besides creating a sense of casualness, there are still many details that should be paid special attention to.

At the end, I will summarize four thumb of rules that you need to pay attention to before each shooting: natural light, fresh ingredients, neat dishes and clean tables! Less is more!

And be creative!